We are Elisa et JuanRa, founders of VAICACOA ®, where we take natural, single-estate cacao and create minimally-processed Ceremonial Cacao and delicious craft chocolate bars!
We met in El Salvador (Central America) in 2012 when Elisa, who is from Olbia - Sardinia ( Italy ), was working for UN Women and relevant internationals NGO's empowering women and promoting women's human rights. JuanRa is from an entrepreneurial family in El Salvador, and after studying in the US he went home and got involved with his father's farm as they diversified from coffee to cocoa, while working for important food companies. JuanRa loved being in nature, planting, and seeing growth.
The two of us handle every step of production at our little Laboratory by the beach . We are located in the town of Olbia, Sardinia, the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea which is home of the Costa Smeralda.
We are the only bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Sardinia, and we are proud to use ethically sourced cacao so that our products give you traceability, authenticity, and flavor!
LISTA CORTA DEGLI INGREDIENTI E MASSIMA TRASPARENZA
Simplicity is among our best qualities, together with the fact that we are the first Italian-Salvadoran short chain of cocoa, with a family 2.0 project. which aims to improve current agricultural processes, to make room for new and advanced techniques thanks to the use of modern agricultural technology and knowledge.
Tutto è iniziato nella piantagione di famiglia di JuanRa, la Finca Cuyancùa in El Salvador. Il nostro progetto mira a creare impatti positivi per coloro che si occupano delle piantagioni di cacao, non solo in El Salvador ma in tutta l'America Centrale. Lo facciamo attraverso la tracciabilità, una migliore comunicazione, l'utilizzo di sistemi post-raccolta moderni adeguati, la produzione di cacao di alta qualità e la trasmissione di prezzi più elevati rispetto a quelli di mercato, compresi i prezzi equi del commercio equo-solidale.
Una volta importato il cacao dalle piantagioni di El Salvador, lo trasformiamo in "cacao nibs", "ceremonial cacao" e "cioccolato bean to bar". Questo significa che ci occupiamo personalmente della trasformazione delle fave di cacao in prodotti finali, che sono poco processati e di alta qualità.
MESOAMERICA AND SARDINIA MEET
Noi di VAICACAO abbiamo il nostro laboratorio di lavorazione del cacao a Olbia, in Sardegna, dove siamo gli unici a trasformare direttamente le fave di cacao in prelibati prodotti. Qui, utilizziamo tecniche artigianali per lavorare il cacao, come la macinazione a pietra, che ci consente di ottenere ogni lotto di produzione unico e di preservare le naturali note aromatiche di ciascun tipo di cacao. I nostri prodotti, tra cui il cacao cerimoniale e il cioccolato bean-to-bar, non subiscono alcun processo di concaggio.
OUR MESOAMERICAN ORIGINS and THE CEREMONIAL CACAO
Mesoamerica is the cradle of cocoa. Here cocoa was adopted for the first time by the Olmecs, an ancient people who prospered in what is today's Mexico from 1900 BC According to scholars, cocoa was cultivated in a more systemic way since ancient times in this region, then appreciated also by the ancient Maya, who considered it a sacred tree, and so by most of the native Mesoamerican peoples, as well as in the present day.
It is from this region that our cocoa comes (if you want to know more, click here)
Cocoa also deserves its place and is to be compared to wine: every origin, harvest, origin, variety, post-harvest process, cause the flavor to change, creating a world of different aromas. This makes the cocoas we work with both from El Salvador and neighboring countries such as Guatemala and Costa Rica specialty cocoas with high energy, nutritional and "medicinal" value.
Our cocoa products are mostly without the use of added sugars, thus promoting an excellent cocoa, traceable, rich in benefits and properties for our psycho-physical well-being, enhancing the benefits of this extraordinary and medicinal plant.
Our chocolate line has a very short ingredient list. There is talk of two at most three ingredients, of which the third is an ingredient from the Sardinian territory or a functional ingredient.
We do not add cocoa butter, cocoa powder, soy lecithin or artificial flavors. For their creation we use only unrefined and organic sugars. Industrialization in this sector has forced people to know only the standardization of flavors, and not to understand, appreciate and distinguish the quality of cocoa and more vibrant and less processed chocolates.
Artisan realities like ours ensure that better communication channels are created between those who produce and those who consume, that new flavors are rediscovered, that there is a better distribution of profits along the entire supply chain, that there is greater attention to issues of environmental sustainability , avoiding unfair commercial practices adopted by the large confectionery industries, practices that often involve inhumane working conditions, poor cocoa quality and considerable environmental damage.
ORIENTATION IN THE REDUCTION OF WASTE AND UNNECESSARY PACKAGING
Our reality is oriented towards the "less waste" in production processes, breaking the conventional business models. We pay close attention to the issue of packaging and packaging, in order to generate less environmental impact and we are always looking for new eco-friendly solutions, even better than the current ones, to offer increasingly sustainable products.
Furthermore, waste is always separated and dutifully recycled. For example, cocoa peels are used in the waste as a natural fertilizer for our grandfather's garden and vineyard.